Tag Archives: Catholic higher education

First woman named Rector of a Roman School

Sr Mary MeloneSister Mary Melone, a  Franciscan Sisters of Blessed Angelina, born in 1964, is the next Rector of the Faculty of Theology of the Pontifical University Antonianum. The venerable Antonianum is run by the Order of Friars Minor.

In recent history of this Roman pontifical university, Sister Melone is the first woman to be appointed a dean, and now the first woman to become a rector of a pontifical university in Rome. Cardinal Zenon Grocholewski, prefect of the Congregation for Catholic Education appointed Melone to a term lasting from 2014-2017. She is an expert on St. Anthony of Padua, and other points in Franciscan theology.

May Saint Anthony of Padua intercede for Sister Mary Melone’s intentions.


When Sr. Melone was elected the dean of the Antonianum she gave an interview to L’Osservatore Romano where she said: 

The approach of a woman: “I don’t give much importance to these kinds of labels, female theology. Above all, I don’t like comparisons although I recognize that in the past there may have been a reason for making comparisons. Maybe there is one today as well, I don’t know. More space definitely needs to be given to women. The reference to female theology does not really fit with my vision of things: all that exists is theology. Theology as research, as a focus on mystery, as a reflection on this mystery. But precisely because this requires different sensitivities. A woman’s approach to mystery, the way in which she reflects on this mystery which offers itself and reveals itself, is certainly different from that of a man. But they do not contrast.  I believe in theology and I believe that theology created by a woman is typical of a woman. It is different but without the element of laying claim to it. Otherwise it almost seems as though I am manipulating theology, when it is instead a field that requires honesty from the person who places him/herself before the mystery.”

More on women:  “a reflection on this cannot be commensurate to the Church’s age as this reflects a development of thought that has gone on for hundreds of years. However, in my opinion a new space does exist and it is real. I also think it is irreversible, meaning that it is not a concession but a sign of the times from which there is no return. It is no pretense. I believe this depends a great deal on us women too. It is us who should get the ball rolling. Women cannot measure how much space they have in the Church in comparison to men: we have a space of our own, which is neither smaller nor greater than the space men occupy. It is our space. Thinking that we have to achieve what men have, will not get us anywhere. Of course, although the steps we take may be real, this does not mean the job is complete. A great deal more can be done but there is change, you can see it, feel it. I think that (my case aside) the election of a woman in a pontifical university is also proof this. The body who elected me was made up entirely of men!”

The Church does NOT need gender quotas?  “No, it doesn’t need quotas, it needs collaboration. And collaboration needs to grow!”

Pope to Notre Dame: give unambiguous testimony to the Christ

Earlier today Pope Francis spoke to a large delegation from the University of Notre Dame. I think my alma mater can follow what the Pope is aiming at… don’t you think? In reading this address I am thinking and hoping that the UND does not explain away what the Pope really means.

UND campusI am pleased to greet the Trustees of Notre Dame University on the occasion of your meeting in Rome, which coincides with the inauguration of the University’s Rome Center. I am confident that the new Center will contribute to the University’s mission by exposing students to the unique historical, cultural and spiritual riches of the Eternal City, and by opening their minds and hearts to the impressive continuity between the faith of Saints Peter and Paul, and the confessors and martyrs of every age, and the Catholic faith passed down to them in their families, schools and parishes. From its founding, Notre Dame University has made an outstanding contribution to the Church in your country through its commitment to the religious education of the young and to serious scholarship inspired by confidence in the harmony of faith and reason in the pursuit of truth and virtue. Conscious of the critical importance of this apostolate for the new evangelization, I express my gratitude for the commitment which Notre Dame University has shown over the years to supporting and strengthening Catholic elementary and secondary school education throughout the United States.

The vision which guided Father Edward Sorin and the first religious of the Congregation of Holy Cross in establishing the University of Notre Dame du Lac remains, in the changed circumstances of the twenty-first century, central to the University’s distinctive identity and its service to the Church and American society. In my Exhortation on the Joy of the Gospel, I stressed the missionary dimension of Christian discipleship, which needs to be evident in the lives of individuals and in the workings of each of the Church’s institutions. This commitment to “missionary discipleship” ought to be reflected in a special way in Catholic universities (cf. Evangelii Gaudium, 132-134), which by their very nature are committed to demonstrating the harmony of faith and reason and the relevance of the Christian message for a full and authentically human life. Essential in this regard is the uncompromising witness of Catholic universities to the Church’s moral teaching, and the defense of her freedom, precisely in and through her institutions, to uphold that teaching as authoritatively proclaimed by the magisterium of her pastors. It is my hope that the University of Notre Dame will continue to offer unambiguous testimony to this aspect of its foundational Catholic identity, especially in the face of efforts, from whatever quarter, to dilute that indispensable witness. And this is important: its identity, as it was intended from the beginning. To defend it, to preserve it and to advance it!

Dear friends, I ask you to pray for me as I strive to carry out the ministry which I have received in service to the Gospel, and I assure you of my prayers for you and for all associated with the educational mission of Notre Dame University. Upon you and your families, and in a particular way, upon the students, faculty and staff of this beloved University, I invoke the Lord’s gifts of wisdom, joy and peace, and cordially impart my Blessing.

Fr Michael Scanlan to retire from Franciscan University

Fr Michael Scanlan.jpg

After 11 years as chancellor and 26 years as president, Father Michael Scanlan, TOR, announced today that he’ll be retiring from Franciscan University. Scanlan is to move to the TOR motherhouse in Loretto, PA. The retirement is effective June 30, 2011.
More can be read here, included is a brief biography.
May Saint Francis of Assisi reward Father Michael abundantly for helping to rebuild the Church.

World’s “Oldest” Catholic university to reconsider “Catholic” identity

The Catholic University of Lueven, founded in 1425 by Pope Martin V is said to be entering into a process to re-consider their Catholic identity, even to the point of removing the adjective “Catholic” from their title, a news item on the Cardinal Newman Society’s webpage said, reporting a Brussels-based news article on October 7.

The university’s rector Mark Waer, 59, a trained physican and medical researcher in nephrology and immunology, has reportedly said, “The Catholic message is not appropriate for the university…” after the criticism from Catholics about the granting of the Nobel Prize to the instigator of IVF technology. Waer only began his term as rector of the university in 2009.

The University’s mission statement can be read here.

Ushaw College Seminary to close in 2011

UK’s The Tablet ran a news piece today saying the seminary for the North of England dioceses, Ushaw College, is closing at the end of the school year in June 2011. Currently, 7 English dioceses are served by UC. Ushaw was first founded in Douai, France in 1568 and has been located four miles west of Durham City since 1808.

From its heyday of 400 men studying for the priesthood to 26 today, the Ushaw has a staff of 62.

The story of Ushaw is grim and it sounds like St Joseph’s Seminary (Dunwoodie) which has fewer than 25 seminarians for the secular priesthood. For the time being SJS is working alone and is slated to merge with Huntington’s seminary.

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
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